September 11 Family Member Brings Peace Message to Japan

CARY, NORTH CAROLINA – July 24 – New Yorker Rita Lasar, a member of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, will be a keynote speaker in Japan at two major international events highlighting alternatives to terrorism, militarism and war.

On July 27, Lasar will address The International Symposium of the 48th Mother’s Congress entitled: “For a 21st Century Free of Terrorism, Nuclear Weapons and War – Unity and Solidarity between Japanese Women and Women All over the World,” which is expected to draw 10,000 attendees to Fukuoka Prefecture.

On August 4, Lasar will be a keynote speaker at the opening plenary of the 2002 World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, a gathering which will bring another 10,000 participants to Hiroshima. The theme will be, “Working Together for a Peaceful and Promising World Without Nuclear Weapons”.

During her two-week stay, Lasar also will tour the Kyoto Museum for World Peace at Ritsumeikan University and visit Hiroshima Peace Park and Peace Memorial Museum. On August 3, she will enjoy a reunion with members of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (HANWA) which toured the U.S. this past April, visited the World Trade Center site, and made joint speaking appearances with Lasar and other members of Peaceful Tomorrows.

A retired businesswoman living in Manhattan, Lasar lost her brother, Abe Zelmanowitz, at the World Trade Center on September 11. Although he worked on a low floor and could have escaped easily, he chose to stay behind with a wheelchair-bound co-worker.

During a September 11 memorial service at the National Cathedral, President George W. Bush praised Zelmanowitz for his courage. But the President later refused to meet with Lasar and other members of Peaceful Tomorrows to discuss the creation of an Afghan Victims Fund. Lasar has been a vocal proponent of the fund since her historic January, 2002, trip to Afghanistan, where she and three other members of Peaceful Tomorrows met with innocent Afghan victims who had lost loved ones to the U.S.-led retaliatory bombing campaign.

September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows (peacefultomorrows.org) is an advocacy organization seeking effective nonviolent alternatives to terrorism throughout the world.

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